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Subject: RE: [ebxml-mktg] Is ebXML got a real future?


Many analysts have the habit of grouping all the standards within the
ebXML framework into one lump and then predicting directions.  I can't
see how anyone can make a useful generic statement about such a diverse
set of standards.

Whilst it is anyone's guess whether future versions of SOAP (that
address it's current reliability and security shortcomings) will replace
ebXML MS v2.0, the fact remains that there are other parts of the ebXML
framework that are not even on the WebServices roadmap so any
predictions in those areas have to be taken with a generous pinch of

I'd suggest that you recommend ebXML as a sound B2B "conceptual
framework" to your company.  Then plan implementations that provide some
flexibility to adopt the most appropriate standard at each layer of the
interoperability "stack":

Messaging:  Most corporates will need to support SOAP (for simple
services), ebXML MSH (for B2B transactions that require reliability and
security), plus any messaging protocols relevant to your industry (eg
EDIINT / AS2 in retail).

Information:  WebServices has no equivalent to ebXML Core Components nor
does it provide standard document formats that comply with any standard
ontologies.  I'd suggest that OAG and xCBL are good libraries to use
whilst UBL gains maturity (although some UBL documents are ready now).
These are "horizontal" document standards so you'll also need to support
any "vertical" standards relevant to your industry (eg RosettaNet in
technology, HL7 in health, etc).

Process:  This is a layer where the webservices initiative is in chaos
right now with a plethora of competing proposals.  No doubt the W3C will
come out with something to bring order to the chaos within a year or so.
However all the W3C standards tend to focus on process from the
prespective of one player (ie how you would link together a load of
services within your organisation to create an aggregate process).
ebXML BPSS on the other hand is ONLY concerned with collaborative
"public" processes.  Since a major barrier to interoperbility has been
the tendancy of companies to confuse private and public process, I would
suggest that the way forward is a complementary use of both standards -
ie BPSS for standard public collaboration choreographies and Web
Services to implement private processes.

Contract / negotiation.  There is no standard on the WebServices roadmap
to address this part of a scalable B2B interoperability strategy.  The
ebXML CPP/CPA is currently the only contender.

I would accept that ebXML has a narrow scope compared to WebServices (ie
ebXML is really just for B2B whilst WebServices is much wider).
However, by the W3C definition I'd also say that ebXML IS A WEBSERVICE -
its just B2B focussed.  I don't accept a general comment that ebXML will
penetrate 5% of B2B because such a comment is meaningless in the context
of the entire framework.  An analyst needs to be more specific (eg a
statement like "in 5 years time, the ebXML Messaging protocol is likely
to be largely replaced by W3C messaging standards based on SOAP that
provide the reliability and security features that ebXML MSv2.0 provides
today").  That is a precise statement that can be subject to reasonable
discussion.  General comments are useless and misleading.

One thing I'd recommend is that your company moves to reduce dependance
on any particular product or vendor by aggressively pursuing genuinely
open standards (whether ebXML or otherwise).  So, for example, in a
middleware selection process, look for runtime engines that are driven
by standards schema (for example a CPA driven messaging engine, a BPSS
and/or BPEL4WS driven process manager, and an XSLT driven transformation
engine).  If you do that then the majority of the effort you invest in
designing transformations, processes, etc is reusable in any other
standards compliant runtime component. 

I hope this helps.

Steve Capell
Sydney, Australia
Tel : +61 410 437854

-----Original Message-----
From: Silcock, David [mailto:silcockd@anz.com] 
Sent: Thursday, 13 February 2003 12:33 PM
To: ebxml-mktg@lists.ebxml.org
Subject: [ebxml-mktg] Is ebXML got a real future?

Saw in a recent Meta Group that they saw ebXML in the future servicing a
niche market within 5% of the complete B2B marketplace, focus will be on
Web Services. 

Was just about to try and convince my organisation to look into ebXML
not sure if I want to take on that challenge after reading that.

Anybody provide, as sound, evidence that ebXML will have a larger role
to play.

David Silcock 
> Business Systems Analyst
> Corporate and International Technologies
> Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
ABN 11 005 357 522 
> 23/530 Collins Street, Melbourne, Vic, 3000 Australia
> Tel		+61 3  9273 2211
> E-mail 	mailto:silcockd@anz.com

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